Monday, August 13, 2007

Cutting Celery

This herb could be mistaken for flat-leafed parsley--the two are related and part of the carrot family (Apiaceae). The flavor gives itself away. Cutting celery has a more pungent flavor than grocery-store celery, and can be substituted for regular celery in most recipes. A few sprigs can replace one large celery stalk. The stalks are skinny, so you won't be able to use it for "ants-on-a-log." But honestly, eating celery from the grocery store is like eating crunchy, stringy water.

Growing your own pot of cutting celery is less wasteful than buying an entire bunch of grocery-store celery (and your fridge will now be free of rotten celery). I never fertilize mine. I grow them in potting soil and are watered only when they need it. Usually they are wilting a bit before I get to them, but they spring right back. My garden bakes in the sun, so I keep this pot in the shade to prevent my celery from bolting.

You can use the entire sprig, or use the stalk and leaves seperately. The stalks are more concentrated with flavor. I add cutting celery to my watermelon gazpacho (see previous entry); curry chicken salad; and seafood medley with fresh pineapple, zucchini, and tomatoes; or tuna sanwiches. Add it to pretty much anything that calls for a refreshing bite. Once the seasons change, I will use it in my mirepoix--the French combination of carrots, onion, and celery--for soups and other fall dishes. Hopefully my cutting celery will last until fall. In the meantime, I'll be making more curried chicken salad. Enjoy this easy-to-make recipe!

Curried Chicken Salad

1 pound cooked chicken (you can sub tofu for vegetarians)
3-4 sprigs cutting celery
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup currants (or 1/4 cup raisins chopped)
1/2 cup cashews or peanuts
1/4 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup sauce (recipe below)

Once cooked and cooled, cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Serve immediately or chill for later.


4 tablespoons madras curry powder
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil

Toast the madras curry in a dry pan over medium heat. The curry will become more fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until thoroughly mixed.


primrozie said...

I was happy to find your cutting celery post. I've grown it before, but this year it's not doing well in my window box. I see yours did fine in a container. I'm going to transplant mine in a fresh container of potting soil.

Tim said...

I grew it this year and it did really well, but I am very disappointed at the flavour - it is very sharp, bitter, with nary a smattering of celery taste. I finished by digging it up and composting it.

Greg said...

Very good information, I'm going to try to grow cutting celery this year.

Any chance I can use that image on my blog? I'll give full credit to where I got it.

Bridget Lamp said...

Sure, Greg. Enjoy the cutting celery!